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David P., PhD, FARVO is Professor Emeritus at the Medical University of South Carolina. He has 30+ years experience in teaching medical pharmacology and toxicology to undergraduate, graduate,and medical students as well as residents. He has received numerous teaching awards from students and peers - President's Award for Excellence. He has 20+ years of experience as a course coordinator and chairperson of a department in a medical school environment. He has also had experience in drug discovery and development in industry.
Professor P. believes that the ultimate objective in the teaching / learning paradigm is to seek to understand the knowledge gained by applying basic information in a problem-solving manner as related to the therapeutic uses of drugs. The first step is acquisition of drug principles and facts, but the next step is demonstrating the utility of the information in a more practical (applied) situation. Using this approach, the student retains the information for a longer period of time because it is learned in the proper context. Moreover, because a thought process has been enabled, the information is more readily retrieved. This unique method facilitates: 1) life-long, self-sustaining skills (learning/understanding process) that are perpetuated outside the formal classroom setting and 2) a rational understanding of the pharmacological basis of therapeutics.
It is not feasible to learn everything about every drug available. For this reason, it is necessary to develop a flexible approach for managing information about drugs. To facilitate this approach, subject matter related to pharmacology and toxicology will include discussing general principles. For example, one must appreciate how the body handles drugs (pharmacokinetics) and other chemicals (absorption, distribution, metabolism, elimination) following administration (or exposure) by various routes. Principles related to how drugs affect bodily functions (pharmacodynamics) will be examined including: sites and modes of action, therapeutic indications, adverse effects, contraindications, and drug interactions. Discussions will include how drugs are classified and differentiated according to their pharmacodynamic actions because this information usually determines the therapeutic indication. Emphasis will be placed on learning specific information about prototype drugs within the major classes of drugs. Generic sorting techniques will be used to prioritize the information to catalog and learn about prototype drugs. Other specific methods of study will address areas where the student is experiencing difficulty. An organized method of study will facilitate the learning of important information for each class of drugs.
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